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Barbiturates and Benzodiazepines. Prescription Medication Drugs. These drugs are often prescribed for pain, insomnia, depression, anxiety. They slow brain functioning by increasing activity of the neurotransmitter GABA which decreases brain activity and causes drowsiness and calmness.

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Barbiturates and Benzodiazepines


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    1. Barbiturates and Benzodiazepines Prescription Medication Drugs

    2. These drugs are often prescribed for pain, insomnia, depression, anxiety. • They slow brain functioning by increasing activity of the neurotransmitter GABA which decreases brain activity and causes drowsiness and calmness. • They also decrease heart rate and blood pressure.

    3. Prevalence • People who abuse these drugs have usually either been prescribed the drug and began abusing it, or had a family member who was prescribed the medication • Most commonly mixed with alcohol and or opiates such as heroin or Oxycontin.

    4. Use: • “There has been a decline in the lifetime use of sedatives from a peak of 10.5 percent in 2005 to 9.3 percent in 2007. Past year use of sedatives/barbiturates declined from a peak of 7.2 percent in 2005 to 6.2 percent in 2007 .“ (www.nida.nig.gov) • The death rate from overdose is 10% - complications which can arise from an overdose is coma and damaged fetuses in pregnant women. • More than half of all overdoses are a result from mixing barbiturates and benzodiazepines.

    5. Short-term effects • These drugs induce state of intoxication that is identical to that of being intoxicated with alcohol. • Symptoms such as impaired judgment, slowed speech, lack of coordination, disinhibition, shallow breathing, staggering and aggressive impulses.

    6. Long-term effects • Sometimes when an individual stops abusing the drug, the symptoms they were taking the drug for in the first place come back even stronger (anxiety for example). • Withdrawal symptoms are also present: irritability, paranoia, muscle tension, perceptual disturbance, etc. • Serious usage and sudden withdrawal can cause seizures.

    7. Possible Research Solution: • Melatonin, a hormone that is produced at night by the pineal gland, promotes normal sleep in humans. Can counter benzodiazepine addiction. • A number of studies in elderly insomniacs, children, and patients with delayed sleep phase syndrome when receiving melatonin therapy did not develop a tolerance to the hormone during prolonged periods of use and experienced no withdrawal effects upon discontinuation. (1999)

    8. Sources: • www.nida.nig.gov • www.nih.gov • www.sfn.org • http://archinte.ama-assn.org/cgi/reprint/159/20/2456.pdf